Covid-19 impact: Railways to run more trains on select routes

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on April 13, 2021

As on April 10, Indian Railways was operating an average of 7,620 services daily, including 1,409 Mail/ Express trains and 28 clone trains which are separate trains run on high demand routes

Says traffic on majority of routes is below capacity

In the backdrop of the surge in Covid-19 infections, the Indian Railways is adding more trains to meet growing demand from select centres, but has refrained from limiting the number of travellers on a train.

Last year, the Railways had limited seat capacity to ensure social distancing on Shramik special trains when it resumed services in the initial days of the pandemic. Railways’ stance is that it is constantly evaluating the situation, while running more trains to accommodate passengers to meet higher demand.

Pointing out that the usual summer rush used to be much higher, an official said that the number of summer special trains being run this year is much lower than the pre-Covid-19 times. “Also, while there is high demand on select routes where trains are being run, they are operating below capacity on a majority of routes,” added the official.

Limiting commuters

Meanwhile, Delhi has limited the number of passengers that can travel in buses and Metro by half, amid rising Covid-19 cases.

Mumbai has also put limits on those who can travel, and has limited the number of people in a cab.

High demand for routes

“More services are being planned as per proposals received from zonal railways. To clear extra rush between major metropolitan areas in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, additional summer special trains over and above the regular Mail Express specials are being run starting from April 7, 2021.

“At present 262 trips of 70 notified train services have been planned by Railways up to May,” shared a Ministry official.

Several railway officials said that they had not anticipated anything like this – pretty much like the airlines sector. Indian Railways, which had halted passenger trains last year, prompted by the lockdown, has been running more trains to resume normalcy in co-ordination with State governments. As on April 10, Indian Railways was operating an average of 7,620 services daily including 1,409 Mail/ Express trains, (including 28 clone trains which are separate trains run on high demand routes, apart from 830 passenger trains and 5,381 suburban trains.

In Pre-Covid-19 times, 11,283 passenger train services were running daily including 1,768 Mail/ Express trains, 3,634 passenger trains, and 5,881 suburban trains.

About 30 per cent of these trains (2,287 services) were added in the last three months.

“From January to April 2021, 447 mail or express trains, 669 passenger trains and 1,171 suburban trains were operated,” according to official data.

Last year, the Railways had stopped providing bed rolls, linen and cooked meals on trains to minimise the possibility of the spread of virus. This precaution will continue, added the official.

Staff safety

Also, the Railway staff are being vaccinated. Almost all the health workers and more than 90 per cent of the railway police force have already received at least one dose. Several railway officials have been detected with Covid-19, prompting attendance relaxations and closure of some project field offices.

Published on April 13, 2021

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